A lot has changed at Arsenal Football Club over the last four seasons. The club hasn't won a trophy of any note and there have been many comings and goings at the club.
However, there has been a drastic change in Arsenal's approach towards handling the press.
In the past, when the likes of Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry were linked to moves away from the club, you wouldn't generally hear many noises from the club either accepting or denying such rumours. But some bitter experiences have certainly improved Arsenal's press policy.
Arsene Wenger has said very often that neither he nor the players can control what is written in the press.
Arsenal fans have always been irked in the past when their top stars have been linked with moves away from the club, only to see that neither the players nor the club says a word about it. This left a lot of doubt as to whether the players were in fact going to stay at the club or not.
The Arsenal manager also seemed to have a persecution complex which seemed to make the team a bit soft on the pitch.
But all this has changed since last season after the likes of Alexander Hleb and Mathieu Flamini left after changing their stance with every interview they gave.
Cesc Fabregas has always been linked to moves away from Arsenal with Real Madrid and Barcelona his preferred destinations, but such rumours are few and far between now for various reasons. Primarily, it is down to the player himself swiftly moving to deny any comments which were attributed to him in any article linking him to a move away from the Gunners.
The Arsenal captain succinctly summed up what he made of reports linking him to Barcelona and some quotes attributed to him meeting their coach Pep Guardiola:
"I never said it.Right now my future is in the same situation. Arsenal have already said that I am not transferable, which fills me with pride.
"If some day I left Arsenal, I wouldn't stay in England. As a Spaniard, everyone knows that I would like to play in the Spanish league. In England there are four teams who are superior to the rest and in Spain it is more equal."
He indicated that he has learnt from his mistakes of quotes being twisted while they're being translated from Spanish to English or vice-versa and added:
“You have to be careful not to fall into this kind of trap."
The press haven't left out the likes of Gael Clichy and Bacary Sagna, with the wing-backs being linked to moves to Real Madrid. However, within hours of such articles being published on the internet, the duo came out and poured cold water on any transfer speculation.
Sagna told the Arsenal website yesterday:
“I have seen the quotes attributed to me in the French media today and I just want to put the record straight. These comments are not accurate and I’m not aware of any speculation linking me to another club. I am 100 per cent committed to Arsenal.
"This is a great club and I’m proud to wear the shirt. I’m looking forward to returning for pre-season training in July and preparing for the challenges that next season will bring. We have a great squad of players at the club and I know that we can achieve something together at Arsenal, my focus is nowhere else.”
Gael Clichy also rejected all the speculation about a potential move to Real Madrid considering he only signed an extension to his contract last season (not that it means anything in today's world!).
The only cases which have been left open to interpretation are those of the two Emmanuels. Both Adebayor and Eboue might be heading out of Arsenal this summer and with the former likening a move to Milan as a union with Beyonce and the latter stating his unhappiness at being left out of the playing eleven despite having featured quite a number of times this season—both moves look on the cards at this moment.
The Arsenal players and the club as a whole has learnt to deal with whatever the press throws at them and that seems to be the motto of the club this season—keep the current squad together and do it at all costs.
Arsenal's new policy towards the press will certainly please the fans no end. With their players assuring their allegiances to their team almost immediately after rumours surface of their departures—a clear change is already visible to Arsenal's approach towards life off the pitch.
All they can hope for now is that they can replicate such a pragmatic approach to life on the pitch next season.
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